Meet Graupel - The Startup Using 3D Technology to Offer Great Fitting Fashion
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3D technology is all the rage at the moment, with companies all over the world finding new ways to use it to enhance the customer experience. From virtual reality shopping experiences to augmented reality treasure hunts, there's a ton of potential for 3D technology in the retail industry.
While the technology found its way into the fashion retail business some time ago - through augmented reality devices such as magic mirrors which allow customers to virtually try on clothing - a new application has recently been discovered. And, as is often the case, the story begins with that gargantuan behemoth of ecommerce - Amazon.
Earlier this year it was reported that Amazon was inviting people to take part in a special survey on the shape and size of their bodies.
The company stated it was interested in how body shape and size change over time and asked willing participants to complete an online survey detailing how much their weight and fitness levels had changed over the preceding year, and whether they had plans to lose weight in the near future.
Following the survey, a select group of participants would be invited to have their bodies measured for 30 minutes every two weeks. However, far from using a tape measure, the measurements would be undertaken using 3D scanning technology from recent Amazon acquisition, Body Labs. The technology at Body Labs can capture an accurate model of the body's shape and motion, which can be used to create 3D models for gaming, or for fashion design.
With Amazon predicted to become a tour de force in the online fashion market, the survey has prompted speculation that it is the first step of Amazon offering a virtual changing room service to augment its online store, although Amazon has yet to comment.
However, one startup which isn't afraid to make its intentions known is Miami-based fashion boutique with a difference - Graupel.
(Image source: graupel.com)
Taking its name from a type of snow particle, Graupel's philosophy is that, just like its namesake, everyone is different, and no two people want the same thing from their clothes shopping experience. In order to meet this need, the company is deploying state-of-the-art 3D scanning technology to give its customers the best fit possible.
"Fit is the #1 issue within the fashion industry and the #1 reason for returns," said Graupel Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Christina Fitzpatrick. "For decades, the industry has used a traditional size scale that has hardly been updated. There are so many different shapes and sizes of people... why has this issue not been solved? We worked long and hard to come up with a solution!"
The solution Graupel came up with was a 3D scanner capable of taking 150 measurements in just three seconds. The software's algorithms then go to work, crafting a detailed profile of the customer which is then stored in Graupel's cloud platform. From there, customers can order any garment from Graupel's catalog of quality designers and have it custom made to their exact measurements.
Customers can be rescanned as many times as they need to be, so if they've gained or lost weight, had children, taken up exercise, or experienced any number of things which can change the size and shape of the body, they can still make sure they have the perfect fit. Graupel's scanner technology is presently only available for women, but, if it proves successful, we may see an expansion further down the line.
"We aim to pioneer the retail of the future, by bringing an exciting experience to the brick and mortar space, as well as providing all women with apparel they can trust will fit them," said Fitzpatrick. "You are able to order online thereafter, and your custom-made garment will be drop shipped directly to your house. We want to instill a different mindset around shopping and around being yourself - that you don't have to conform to society's standards and that you can find beautiful clothing that fits your unique body to a T."
Returned items are a number one issue for ecommerce fashion stores. However, by using brick-and-mortar-based scanners such as the one Graupel has installed, retailers can make sure their customers have the best fit possible, which should reduce the need for returns to the absolute minimum.
3D technology is set to be a hot topic at Future Stores Seattle 2019, taking place June 5 – 7.
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